Jill Vacchina Dobbs, J.D. – Executive Director

The SPCA of Northern Nevada is proud to welcome Jill Vacchina Dobbs, J.D. as our new Executive Director. Jill was born and raised in Reno, NV. She graduated with honors from UC-Santa Barbara, worked in the financial services industry, and graduated cum laude from Gonzaga Law School. After graduation, she moved to Truckee, CA where she primarily practiced transactional and nonprofit law.

For the last 10 years, Jill served on the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe’s (HSTT) board of directors, with 6 years as Board President. During that time that animal welfare organization blossomed, increasing adoptions over 200%, with tremendous growth in other program areas as well. She cherished her time with HSTT and considers it a leading organization. She looks forward to applying her skills to help the SPCA continue to grow and improve our Adoption Center operations. She will help the SPCA create innovative programs to address the underlying causes of shelter overpopulation while unifying our region through a love of companion animals.

Like many Northern Nevadans, Jill is an active outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys hiking, skiing, wakeboarding, swimming, cycling and simply playing. She’s constantly entertained by her son and SPCA-NN rescues, Gracie and Butters. Jill knows she has the greatest job in the world and the SPCA is very lucky to have her at our helm as we strive to make all of northern Nevada a safe and loving community for pets.

“As individuals, we have the ability to affect positive change every day. I get to exploit that ability and work hard every day to advocate and fundraise for homeless pets and work with passion-driven people.”  She has already noticed that at the SPCA “there is a strong commitment to developing a culture adhering to our values: compassion, integrity, respect, excellence, gratitude, creativity, education and collaboration.”

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 210

Sean Farnan – Development Director

Sean relocated to the Tahoe Basin in 2009 after 27 years in Southern California. He spent 20 years in the financial services sector, both in the mortgage and insurance industries and in 1998, Sean turned his attention to the non-profit world. He has been the Donor Relations Director for the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara, and served as the Executive Director of the Ventura County Junior Golf Association and founded The First Tee Ventura County. After moving to Incline Village, he was the Development Director at Lake Tahoe School.

After spending six years working at the Lake Tahoe School, Sean was ready to work with an organization in the city in which he now lives, Reno. He joined the SPCA of Northern Nevada in September of 2015, putting his non-profit fundraising and marketing skills to work as our Development Director.  The timing worked out well and he’s very happy to be here helping to save the lives of abandoned dogs and cats.

Sean was first interested in animal welfare and working for the SPCA of Northern Nevada once he learned that over 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized annually in the United States. He’s had pets all his life, (and is especially a dog lover,) so it was an excellent choice for him to start working toward eliminating this terrible social issue.

Married, and with three teenage boys, Sean’s family keeps him busy. Sean is an avid gardener and motorcycle enthusiast and loves to take multi-day camping trips on his motorcycle. He also has four standard poodles, Mellie, Murphy, Hank, and Harley.  Sean’s family keeps chickens, too! Sean is married to Kate Carter, a school teacher in Washoe County, and Kate and Mellie (their female poodle), are a therapy dog team that volunteers at Renown, Paws 4 Passengers at the airport, and participate in the crisis response team for WCSD. 

Sean believes working at the SPCA is the best job in the world. Every adoption that takes place here is his favorite story and he knows you can’t buy love, but you can adopt it.

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 204

Rena Wells – Finance and  Administration Director

With the SPCA since: November 2011

Rena comes to the SPCA as a long-time successful entrepreneur who specialized in the manufacturing, selling and education of dental equipment for equine veterinarians.

Rena’s favorite part about working at the SPCA of Northern Nevada is helping mentor employees to become successful, long term additions to SPCA.

When she’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community Rena is creating jewelry, riding her motorcycle and playing Frisbee with her SPCA rescue dog, Harley, which are all some of the great passions Rena enjoys.

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 207

Dusty Robinson- Animal Care Manager

With the SPCA since: October 2014

 Before coming to the SPCA, Dusty worked with dogs and their owners with obedience training and behavior modification; she has 3 dog training certifications and enjoys helping people create happier pets!

Dusty enjoys working at the SPCA because the best part about her job is the satisfaction she feels when she gets to be a part of making a person’s day better by finding them the perfect dog, and making the dog’s life better because she got to pull them from a life-threatening situation and find them a forever, loving home.

When she’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community she is hopefully on top of a mountain somewhere, with her dogs, enjoying the outdoors and connecting with nature.

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 203

Mac Wieland – Thrift Store General Manager

With the SPCA since: August 2015

Before joining the SPCA Thrift Store, Mac was a manager with JCPenney for almost 30 years; he attended the University of Nevada, is a past chairman of our local Secret Witness program, and is a tour guide for the Historic Reno Preservation Society, presenting the downtown church tour and the Grand Army of the Republic cemetery tour during ArTown.

Mac loves working at the SPCA Thrift Store because “It is wonderful to have someone find a great deal at the store.  When I had just started, a couple had found a  piece of artwork for around $50.  They sold it for $600 and donated half to the SPCA.  That’s wonderful!”

When he’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community, he loves to read – most anything but loves history.  Mac has one cat, Linus, who rules the house, a sweet old dog, Lucy, who loves to eat and sleep, and a younger dog, Cooper, who is in everyone’s business all the time.  Completing the menagerie are 5 Rhode Island Red chickens who are a joy to watch.

Laura Van Antwerp – Communications Manager

With the SPCA since: January 2019

Laura is an award-winning writer and marketer with a passion for strategy, storytelling and creating powerful multi-media content that resonates and inspires. She brings an extensive background in marketing and journalism to the SPCA of Northern Nevada. Prior to joining our team she worked as a public relations manager and digital content writer for Foundry, a renown full-service marketing agency. She has also been published in a wide spectrum of publications including USA Today,  Forbes, Tahoe Quarterly, Bliss Babe Magazine, Elephant Journal, The Tahoe Journal, Tahoe Action, College Humor, The Bolivian Express, and many more. She is also the recipient of a PRSA Bronze Spike for her cover story in the May 2018 issue of Bliss Babe Magazine.

When she’s not helping save lives at the SPCA of Northern Nevada, Laura can be found in the gym training for her next bodybuilding competition, reading books, or backpacking through mountains with her fiance and adorable pup Maia, who she rescued from the SPCA of Northern Nevada long before she worked here!

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 209

Nayla Garcia – Volunteer Manager

Nayla Garcia is the Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager at the SPCA

With the SPCA since: March 2018

Nayla was born and raised in Reno, she has previously worked for Renown/Hometown Health as well as Reno1868. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a double major in International Affairs and Spanish and has been a Volunteer herself at many local nonprofit organizations as well as internationally.

Nayla loves working at the SPCA because “Not only do I love animals but I also love working with nice and enthusiastic people, so I get the best of both worlds here at the SPCA of Northern Nevada!”

When Nayla isn’t saving the lives of homeless pets, she loves to travel and experience new people/places/things. She also just loves to hang out in her hometown, spend time with her family, play soccer, or just cuddle on the couch and watch a good movie.

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 208

Tara Davis – Programs Manager

With the SPCA since: February 2019

Before coming to SPCA, Tara worked with the foster program at Nevada Humane Society, and was the sewing shop manager at PolyEsther’s Costume Boutique in Midtown.

Tara finds it inspiring to work with and support foster families as they prepare our neediest animals for adoption.

When she’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community, you can find Tara reading, playing video games or getting crafty!

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 216


Ashley Butters – Adoption Manager

With the SPCA since: March 2019

Prior to working at the SPCA of Northern Nevada, Ashley worked at a veterinary clinic in Stevenson, Washington. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resource Conservation and brings a lifelong love for animals to the SPCA. Growing up, Ashley had many pets including chickens and cows. She especially enjoyed bottle-feeding calves. 

Ashley loves working at the SPCA of Northern Nevada for the wonderful work environment. Ashley appreciates that everyone here works as a team and believes she has found a special kind of family. 

When she’s not saving the lives of homeless pets in our community, Ashley spends her time exploring Tahoe foraging for elderberries. She can make a tasty flu and cold remedy.  If you have any tips on secret berry picking locations come see her at the SPCA of NN. She’ll be happy to exchange tips of the trade and may even be able to squeeze in a tour of our facility. 

Phone: 775-324-7773 ext. 205

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